Leah started collecting china figurines when she was little. Her grandmother gave her the first one; a beautiful elegant lady in a lavender dress. By the time she was fifteen, she had a dozen shelves full.
When she was eighteen, she got a place in a prestigious university. It meant moving a long way from home; the city was almost three hours on the train from the little town where she had grown up. She took only a few of her figurines with her; the lavender lady that had begun her collection, a dog and a romantic shepherd and shepherdess pair. She set them up on a shelf in her dormitory room, above her desk.
She wasn’t used to the city. It was incredibly noisy – wherever she went there was noise. It seemed like everybody listened to the radio non-stop; in restaurants, in offices, in shops- even in all the public toilets. With the noise of the traffic and the people and the radios, Leah started to feel like she was going crazy. She was thankful that she had a room to herself. At least when her lectures were over she could retreat there, shut the door behind her and enjoy a little peace and quiet.
She was taking a nap after class when the first tremor hit; just a little shake, as if a particularly large truck had just driven by. She sat up sharply when she remembered that she was on the fourth floor, and trucks don’t drive past the fourth floor.
The second tremor hit as she stood up. She lost her balance and fell back onto her bed, watching helplessly as her fragile china dog slipped off the shelf and crashed onto the desk below.
She struggled to her feet as the room shook again, managing to catch both the shepherd and shepherdess as they fell and scooping up the lavender lady from the shelf and into her arms. She screamed as the room shook even more.
The door flew open. A security guard was there, beckoning her urgently.
“What are you doing here? Didn’t you hear the warnings? You should be in the shelter!”
He grabbed her by the shoulders and rushed her through the hallway as the building trembled and quaked. She clutched her china figurines to her chest and sobbed as she ran with the security guard downstairs and into the basement.
“What’s going on? Is it an earthquake?”
The security guard laughed as he pulled the basement door shut behind them. “Earthquake? You must have missed the orientation lecture.”
The shaking was less terrifying down there. She caught her breath as she looked around. The basement was reinforced, and other students were down here, sitting on benches with blankets and soft drinks.
Leah frowned. “Orientation? I was stuck in the queue for my student card. What do you mean? Is this a drill?”
One of the students shuffled over to make space for her on the bench. “Not a drill, not an earthquake,” she told Leah. “It’s just Godzilla going through a rampant phase. He’ll get bored and go away soon.”
© Kari Fay
(Author’s Note: This week, Three Word Wednesday gives us “fragile, rampant, tremor” – so I borrowed Godzilla for the day
By the way, this will be my last 3WW for a little while- I’ll be busy writing for NaNoWriMo the next four weeks, so I won’t be writing to any prompts until it’s December. I will nevertheless be posting a story daily, so I hope you’ll still stop by.)